Send to

Choose Destination
Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2007 Dec;35(6):449-58.

Dental caries and childhood obesity: roles of diet and socioeconomic status.

Author information

Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, College of Dentistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1010, USA.



Our objective was to determine (a) if caries and obesity were associated in a pediatric population and (b) if so, then to explore diet and socioeconomic status as additional risk factors.


Subjects were recruited at birth and are members of the Iowa Fluoride Study. Data such as parental age, parental education levels and family incomes were obtained by questionnaire at recruitment. Children's primary dentition was examined and their weight and height measured at 4.5-6.9 years of age. Parental weight and height were measured when children were 7.6-10.9 years of age. Beverage and nutrient intake patterns were obtained from 3-day food and beverage diaries completed at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years of age.


Children with caries had lower family incomes, less educated parents, heavier mothers and higher soda-pop intakes at 2, 3 and for 1-5 years than children without caries (P < 0.05). 'Overweight' children had less educated fathers and heavier parents than 'normal' weight children (P < 0.05). Children 'at risk' of overweight had higher caries rates than 'normal' or 'overweight' children (P < 0.05). In stepwise logistic regression models to predict caries experience, soda-pop intakes were displaced by mother's education, leaving 'at risk' of overweight and mother's education in the final model.


Caries and obesity coexist in children of low socioeconomic status. Public health measures to improve dietary education and access to appropriate foodstuffs could decrease the risk of both diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center